IDPH anticipates the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will release additional guidance in early July, which IDPH will follow, Arnold said. IDPH and the Illinois State Board of Education are working to update school guidance as well.
While IDPH plans to follow CDC guidance, the CDC does not set vaccine requirements for schools or childcare facilities, nor do individual public school districts — states do.
Illinois required 10 vaccines for childcare facilities or schools in the fall of 2020: Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis, Polio, Measles, Rubella, Mumps, Haemophilus Influenzae Type B, Invasive Pneumococcal Disease, Hepatitis B, Varicella and Meningococcal Disease. Many of these vaccines are given to babies and toddlers, before they are ever enrolled in school.
While the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for children as young as 12 for nearly two months, vaccination rates remain low compared to other age groups. In Illinois, 169,787 children between 12 and 15 are fully vaccinated against COVID, according to IDPH.
There are approximately 600,000 children that age in Illinois, based on of school enrollment data for fall 2020, putting the vaccine rate for 12-15 year olds below one in three. For the entire state population ages 12 and over, 56% are fully vaccinated.
In the metro-east, schools have worked with local health departments to host optional vaccine clinics for students and their families.